§ Mrs. Anne Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) of 6 November 2001,Official Report, column 175W, on the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, what progress has been made with the Government's review of section 24 of the Act; when he will announce his conclusions; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Angela Eagle
Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 creates a criminal offence for the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information relating to the use of animals in scientific procedures by Home Office Ministers and officials, members of the Animal Procedures Committee and others appointed for specific purposes under the Act, other than for the purposes of carrying out functions under the Act. The maximum punishment is two years imprisonment. Following the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all statutory bars to the disclosure of information are being reviewed, including section 24 of the 1986 Act.
For some time now the Government has taken the position that greater openness and transparency regarding the regulation and use of animals in scientific procedures is desirable, providing it does not jeopardise the safety of individual scientists and their establishments or their legitimate commercial and intellectual interests. I am continuing my consideration of how these commitments can best be met. I hope to make a decision on whether to repeal or amend section 24 by the summer.